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Claws - Cracker Casserole - Review

“Claws” continues to cook up drama for its characters, and in “Cracker Casserole,” it’s Jenn who gets more than her fair share.

When we join Jenn this week, she is already dealing with the presence of her mother Brenda (Lusia Strus, “Good Behavior”), whose trashiness has an edge of toxicity to it and whose visit is clearly more irritating than helpful. Then, she learns about Zlata gifting her house to Desna and reluctantly goes along with Desna’s suggestion that they share. And then, Bryce shows up to angrily confront her about the sex tape of her and Hank Zlata’s men forced him to watch. Jenn correctly points out that Zlata is trying to pit them all against each other (I did notice last week that Zlata seems to have it out for Jenn in particular, from the moment she tried to excuse herself from any further criminal activity), but as Desna rightly retorts, they can’t exactly clapback on a woman who murdered her own sister without a plan so Jenn’s gonna have to suck it up.

But despite this drama, or maybe because of it, she still can’t seem to stay away from Hank. When she tries to make a clean break, the clearly smitten Hank convinces her to still be his partner in a square dancing competition. So while Brenda makes noise about talking sense into Bryce with the aid of the titular casserole, Jenn heads to the dance in an OTT cowgirl outfit in patriotic colors (“Shit, I thought it was British,” Jenn hilariously notes when Desna drolly points out that Brenda sewed a Confederate flag on it). But her guilt and regret catches up with her as she keeps imagining Bryce while she do-si-dos. Abandoning Hank, she runs off to declare her feelings for Bryce…only to walk in on him seconds away from getting a blowjob…from Brenda.

This leads to a sequence that kinda encapsulates everything that’s great about “Claws.” A mother/daughter catfight breaks out, hilariously scored to The Ronettes' "You Came, You Saw, You Conquered," that ends up pulling all the women into it (Niecy Nash’s face as Desna charges at Brenda after she accidentally punches her in the face is amazing!). After it’s broken up by the Hussers, we see the ladies leaving the house, hilariously disheveled. But as Jenn starts apologizing for what a trash bag her mom is, she breaks down as the gravity of the betrayal sinks in – great work from Jenn Lyon here – and the women surround her with support. Really great scene.

Also having a bit of a tough time is Virginia. Quiet Ann figures out that she’s pregnant and, despite empathizing with her frustration about the control Desna has over their life decisions (still keeping my eye on Ann’s simmering resentment), advises Virginia to come clean. And of course, because she’s Virginia, she does so at the worst possible moment, forcing her to flee from Desna across the parking lot as, hee, The Beach Boys’ “I Get Around” plays on the soundtrack. Desna is furious so it’s Quiet Ann who gets invited along for emotional support when Virginia decides to have an abortion. A talk between them leads to a stylistically interesting sequence where several women debate the issue in “The Brady Bunch” opening credits-esque squares, during which we also learn some illuminating tidbits about Polly and, particularly, Quiet Ann’s backstories. Virginia does go through with the procedure, but also accepts when Dean proposes. And Desna decides that she needs to let them both go a little.

On the Russian front, Zlata tasks Desna with upping the clientele at the clinic to help finance the expansion she has planned. After falling asleep on the couch after a fight with Dean, Desna catches a late-night commercial and hits on the idea of doing one for the clinic. There’s some fun comedy in this storyline. Jenn getting busted by her mother when she claims to have taken creative writing at/attended community college. Dr. Ken’s assistant Confetta shading him not-subtly as she advises him on his look. Ken bumbling through take after take. And especially when Desna throws out the original concept and basically makes a low-rent music video for Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations” starring Dr. Ken in sequin scrubs and the male strippers Polly’s been working with. But it works! The video goes viral, there’s a line of customers outside the clinic, and Desna gets kudos and cash from Zlata.

Now that you’ve feasted on my review of “Cracker Casserole,” come share your thoughts about this week’s “Claws” in the comments section.

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